Reflecting Back

It is strange to think that just over a month ago, I boarded my first flight, and embarked on my first journey to leave the country, inexperienced, yet unbelievably excited. Although a month has passed, it truly does not feel that long. I myself am still soaking in and reflecting daily on my entire abroad experience: while being bombarded with questions like “how was your trip?” and “what was your favorite part” I sometimes struggle to formulate a concise answer. Allow me to attempt to answer some of these questions.

“What did you learn?”

In a technical sense, I learned all about travel blogging and creative writing styles, which I will admit, was challenging. Most of the writing I was familiar with prior to my trip was essay-style writing; however, it was fun to break out of my “writers shell” and try some creative styles while managing a blog (another first for me).

In a larger sense, I learned about myself and about the world while abroad. All my preconceived notions of what traveling abroad changed in positive ways: now, ignited within me is a flame, telling me to continue to step outside of my comfort zone, try new things, and not to fear the unknown.


(The wake of our ship, carrying us from Copenhagen to Oslo)

What was the most exciting part of the trip? What were some of the most valuable lessons that you took away from the trip?”

One of the most exciting parts for me was my first plane ride out of Chicago O’Hare. For fun, I often times will watch planes take off from Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee: I was incredibly excited to be the one on the plane now. It was a great and smooth flight, and I definitely want to fly again!

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(Photos from my first flight, leaving from Chicago O’Hare)

Besides the flight, I found excitement in daily activities like visiting new landmarks, interacting with the local people, and even going to the ATM: I was always eager to see what the currency looked like from country to country.

“If you could change one thing about the trip, what would it be?”

This is an easy one: I would make the trip longer! Also, I would have loved to visit the rural areas of each nation, to go whale watching, or to see the northern lights.

Perhaps the most valuable trait brought back with me from Scandinavia is a new-found desire within me to travel abroad. Having never left the country prior to this trip, I had no idea the beauty, adventures, and memories the world had to offer me. Certainly, before I graduate from Mount Mary, I plan to study abroad again. Although I am uncertain of exactly where my life will lead me, where I will be one year, five years, 10 years, even 20 years from now, one thing I hope for is that some of that time is spent abroad.


(I loved these little doors! Tucked in the hillsides of Kronborg Castle. Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite movies, and they reminded me of Hobbit doors.)

We are on Earth for such a short time, and we deserve to travel, to see, and to experience the world. I will forever be thankful for my time spent in Scandinavia, standing in my heart as one of the greatest experiences of my entire life.

“Little by little, one travels far.”

                                                                                              -J.R.R. Tolkein


Thank you readers, for following my journey.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Armstrong Barbara says:

    Travel opens the mind to all the wonders and possibilities in life. I hope you will look back many years from now with fondness on this introductory experience Thanks for sharing your wonder and excitement as it reminded me of my own life changing study abroad experiences many years ago! Keep traveling!


    1. Ashley Tannert says:

      Thank you! Your words are certainly true. I hope to continue to travel in my life, and perhaps go on another study abroad trip.


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